#35: Tech, Tools & Tricks of the Trade

Have you ever wondered what tools and bits of technology you need in this age of video and live-streaming events? Not to mention more common tasks like printing flyers or hiring an assistant? In this episode, Michelle shares:

– About her entire desk and recording setup
– How you can work with a virtual assistant…and how you might find one!
– What to do about internet trolls and negative reactions when you are a public figure
…and more!

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This episode is sponsored by:
Master Class: Turn Your Health Coaching Business Into a Full Time Salary

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Hello health coaches, welcome to the Health Coach, Power Community Q & A. my name is Michelle. Pfennighaus. Now I am forever getting questions like technical questions about what headset do you use, Michelle, or how many monitors do you have? So I’m just thinking you guys are probably wondering this stuff. Have you ever wondered what tools and bits of technology you need in this age of video and live streaming events? Not to mention maybe the more common stuff like printing a flier or hiring an assistant. How do you do all this to have. So today I’m going to share with you all about my entire setup, even the desk that I use, some of the tools that I rely on, how I work with my assistant and lots more of these tricks of the trade. So if you’re here with me live as we’re streaming to health coach power community.com.

Go ahead and tell me in the comment section what questions do you have about tools, about technology, any other behind the scenes logistics that you’ve always wondered. This is your chance to find out how all the magic happens and while you do that, I just want to remind you that this episode is brought to you by my free training for health coaches. It’s called how to turn your health coaching business into a full time salary because the thing is, I’ve noticed with a lot of coaches, it’s easy to think, oh, I need this tool, or oh, I need to buy this software. Oh, I need to spend, spend, spend, spend, spend a lot of different things, but at the end of the day, your business relies on you actually making money. So before I had my fancy desks set up, before it had an assistant, I had a plan and that’s the kind of plan that I’m going to help you create.

So do not hesitate to sign up for this free training at findyourbalancehealth.com/earn. Alrighty. So hello to those of you who are here live again, go ahead and put your questions into the comment section and I’ll get to those in a while, but let’s start with the main questions that we have on the docket for today. This one came from David and he said, let’s talk about recording equipment.

Michelle, it sounds like you have a great setup. So, can you talk about the equipment you use, like a microphone, camera, mixer, etc.

So yeah, let me just tell you about the whole situation that I have going on over here. It’s improved through the years. It’s by no means a top notch professional recording studio. Don’t make any mistake about it. So for starters, my desk is in front of a window, not a window that gets really harsh, direct light, but a window that gets more of a diffuse light.

That’s what makes my skin look halfway decent when I’m on camera. So in addition to the light coming through the window, which is really important, you guys, if you had in any way, shape or form, can get yourself in front of a window when you’re doing video or taking a picture. It helps so much and it costs nothing to just walk in front of a window. I was lucky enough to have one that I could actually place my desk in front of. Aside from that, I have a lamp, you know, I can adjust it depending on how dark it is that day, if it’s cloudy outside, but it’s just a regular desk lamp. It’s nothing fancy. And then I have a regular, you know, light on my ceiling behind me and that just provides some diffused light back here. Nothing fancy. So none of my lighting is professional or anything that you should run out and buy.

But the best advice I have for you is to stand in front of a window. Got that. It’s almost like nature’s Instagram filter on your face. So, um, my desk actually just recently upgraded to a standing desk and I love it. I bought it at a company or a website called fully.com, and so they sell all different desks. You can customize it. I got a pretty large one and it goes up and down. It has little buttons that you push and so it goes all the way up and actually right now I have all the way up because this way I can put my laptop right in front of me and the camera is hitting me at eye level. Just so happens that I’m the right height for this to work. If I was taller I would have to stack some books underneath my laptop. You always want your camera to be coming towards you, not up your nose.

Maybe a little bit higher than eye level would be ideal just to look more flattering. Right. So I put the desk up when I’m recording and then I’d bring it back down to whatever height I need it. I’m either sitting in a special chair that I got to go with the desk, which is funny. You can get a chair to go with your standing desk, but it’s true. Sometimes you need to sit and then I also have a treadmill on one side, so it’s a, it’s not attached to the desk, but it is a separate lifespan treadmill walking treadmill that I use when I’m working and sometimes when I’m doing live calls but not today. So, um, so that’s my, my desk set up. The other thing that I have is a second monitor, so I use my laptop, which by the way is a mac book pro or whatever it’s called and I use the camera, you know, from the laptop for everything that I do, but I have a second larger monitor.

Sometimes you’ll see me kind of look to the road or look to the left and that’s because I’m looking up at the other monitor and that’s often where I’ll either have the live stream going with all the comments or any other things that I need to reference during the course of a presentation. I think it’s really helpful. It is a cheap monitor. It’s nothing fancy. In fact, it was my husband’s at one point and I co-opted it and said, hey, I’m going to borrow this for awhile. So it’s really nice and I have that on a, an arm so I can move it depending where I’m working and where I want it positioned. You don’t have to have that. Um, but it really helps to have a second monitor if you’re running any kind of live events, webinars, that kind of thing. Let’s see what else here.

So microphones who wants to know about microphones? I have a little show and tell for you. So one microphone. I have looks like this for those of you that are watching the video, it’s called a level ii or microphone and it’s the kind that clips to your shirt, like if you’re on the news or something, you know, they’ll clip people with a little lavalier microphone and um, and then you don’t see it. It’s not so obvious as one that you wear on your head or one that you hold in your hand. The downside is that the quality of the audio isn’t as great, but it works really well for certain things. So, this one has a really long cord with all tangled up, but I was using this one when I was doing cooking classes over Facebook live, so I plug it into my phone but the phone up on a tripod and then put the lovelier on my shirt and try not to trip over the cord as I’m cooking.

So that’s one of my microphones. And um, I’m gonna put a link to all of these in the comments in case you guys want to check them out. I got them all from amazon. I’m not fancy. I don’t really know a whole lot about these things so I just use amazon. Some people know a lot about microphones but I’m just sharing with you what I actually have been using for quite a few years now. Okay. So then this is more of a handheld or um, I don’t know what you would call this. A regular microphone is what I would call it. It has a little stand here at the bottom. So for a long time I was using this guy and I would just sort of stand in front of the computer or wherever I was, so it would be aimed at my mouth. Um, it does tend to look a little phallic if you see too much of it in the video.

And so that’s one reason I kind of stopped using it, but the other reason is because let’s say that this microphone is pointing towards my face, but then I turned my head and I’m speaking off to the side. The microphone’s not gonna pick that up. So if you use a microphone like this, you have to speak right into it the whole time and that can be fine. But I was noticing a lot of fluctuations in sound quality when I was using it because I tend to move around a lot, especially with the standing desk. And I’m not always speaking directly into the microphone. So that one is also an audio technica. I’m calling it a handheld. Again, I don’t know what it’s really called. Audio technica is a decent brand for these types of things though, if you’re in the market. And then the microphone that I’m using right now and that I’ve started using is actually from a company called plantronics.

I don’t know anything about them, but I like it because it goes on my head and like I said, I can move around, I can turn my head, you can still hear me and it’s comfortable and it doesn’t. I don’t have to worry about knocking it over on my desk and it has good sound quality. Um, so I liked this one a lot. This one plugs right into the computer. So does the handheld. These both plug into the computer with a usb port. Um, so I’m gonna put a link to that one as well. With this plantronics microphone. There’s actually an adapter and if you can see this, but I have to plug it into a special adapter, but you can find information about that on amazon. It just told me what adaptive to buy and I bought it. Oh no, it’s not usb. It plugs into the, the other little outlet over here.

David, can you tell that I’m really not a specialist in audio visual stuff? I mean, if I can do it, anybody can do it. Just sort of looked around seeing what was out there, seeing what was not too expensive. I mean there are microphones that you can get for like $300, $400. And I was always like, I don’t think so. So these are all about $100 or less. I forget exactly how much do they cost, but that’s what I encourage you to do. You know, buy something that has good reviews and it’s in your price range and see how it goes. You can always upgrade. So let’s see here. If I’m recording, like right now I’m using Zoom and I’m recording through Zoom and then we are live streaming through Zoom to Facebook. So that’s how this whole setup is happening right now. I do it every week for this podcast.

The recording is actually happening through Zoom, so at the end I download it from Zoom and then we do a little bit of editing and upload it to become a podcast. What anyone who’s with me on Facebook right now, you’re just getting the, um, the audio that’s coming through Facebook, so anytime that I’m doing an event, a webinar, the live radio show that I do every Thursday with Healthy View Radio for those of you who have been watching, we do the same thing. We use Zoom and then we live stream it to Facebook. So the Zoom is a fantastic way to do anything that’s collaborative and have everybody’s audio recorded together in one place. It’s great. It just records up to the cloud and then you download it when you’re ready. But if I’m by myself, because I know some of you were asking about podcasting recording, um, if I’m by myself, I’m not broadcasting live, I’m just kind of me and my house and I’m going to do a recording.

It could be for a podcast, it could be for like an online course, anything like that. I will record into my computer directly into garage band. Again, I have a mac. So that’s comes, comes with the mac. I can’t remember, but that’s how I would do any audio recording. But what was the other question you had, David, you asked about a mixer and I have to just say I don’t even know what a mixer is, so I don’t have one of those. I don’t think. If I can do it, you can do it. That is the name of the game today. Alrighty, so let’s move on to another question that kind of gets into this realm of how does it all work behind the scenes.

Mindy asked, in what ways are you using virtual assistance? How do you suggest finding a great one? Awesome question Mindy, and I’ll tell you guys a funny story about finding an assistant.

So, I’m in the beginning, when I hired my assistant years ago now, let’s see, how many years ago was that? Maybe five years ago. I used her for very few things. I only used her for something if I absolutely could not figure it out myself. So my assistant, she’s amazing. She can do a lot of techie stuff, like she’ll do anything that’s on the back end of my website or anything that’s a little too much technology than I really feel comfortable getting into. I’ll ask her to do it instead, so that’s a great way to use an assistant when you know that if you get your hands in it, you’re going to make a mess, hire somebody to help you. So, at some assistants will have that kind of capability. They don’t all, right? People are different. So just as your virtual assistant, maybe somebody who’s really good at answering emails, maybe somebody who’s really good at helping you organize your expenses in a spreadsheet, you know, mine also happens to have these really great technical skills. You will pay me more for of course, but it’s worth it.

So here’s some ways that my assistant’s been helping me lately. Just to give you an idea of how this can all work. She works a lot more for me now than she used to. So one thing I’ve been in the process of doing is moving my online course for health coaches. Right? You guys have probably heard me talk about healthy profit university. So, we have a lot of online lessons, how to use all this stuff, how to use Zoom, how do you use lead pages, how to create a freebie, how to hold a webinar. All of these, how to’s like if you like today’s podcast episode, you would love getting your hands on all those lessons because it’s all like the step by step and anyway, we had all of these videos hosted on a member site called Zippy courses for the past several years and I got to tell you, zippy courses, I am not afraid to say it has started to fall apart as in not work and I don’t know what is going on there, but I need needed to move to a new course platform like pronto.

So my assistant has been helping me download all the videos, upload all the videos to the new platform, download all the pdfs, upload all the pdf. So in some ways it’s busy work but it needs to be done in a really organized fashion and she’s been amazing helping me do that. Another thing I have assistants do for me is following up with clients about missed payments. So as you know, if you offer any kind of payment plan, it is likely that somebody’s credit card is going to change and it’s going to expire or they’re going to lose it or whatever reason and a payment is going to get missed. So, I have an assistant who helps me follow up about missed payments. I talked about the technical stuff already that my assistant helps me with. And then something else that’s been really great is, um, having an assistant for, if you have a podcast, if you have guests on your podcast, there’s a lot of back and forth there.

So you have to reach out to the guests, you have to book for guest, you have to send them all the information they need and remind them to show up when they’re supposed to show up. Then you have to follow up afterwards. So, um, particularly with Healthy View Radio, we’ve used an assistant to do all of that kind of communications and back and forth. Yes. Oh, so many ways that you can use a virtual assistant, but those are just some of them and in terms of how to find a good one, I got to tell you that when I was first looking for an assistant, I asked another entrepreneur who she was using. She referred her assistant to me and that’s boom. How the match was made. Word of mouth is always going to be best. There are sites out there where you could find someone to help you out.

Certainly Fiverr if you guys are familiar with. Fiverr is a good place. If you just need a task then like a graphic created or a layout made, something like that. Something more on like the graphic design realm. You could use Fiverr and people have had really good results with that, but there’s a site called I think hiremymom.com and I’ll tell you a funny story. So my cohost on the radio show, Lisa, Hi Lisa. found somebody through, I think this hiremymom.com website. I could be wrong, but one of these sites where you just blindly go in and say, I need an assistant and you find somebody in billing. So we started using this person and for the first week, two weeks it was fine, it was good, but you know, you always have to train somebody new so there’s a ramp up period and then all of a sudden he just dropped off the face of the earth and we’re like, what happened?

Like, where is, he’s not responding? and we got no communication like that. Something bad had happened. I mean, it was really weird. And then we finally heard from the guy and he said that he had been in jail and we were like, what was the last thing we expected someone to say, you know, I don’t know if he’s guilty or not guilty, but come on, man, I can’t be working with somebody who may or may not end up in jail. So that was, that was weird. That was kind of a weird one. Um, so I, I can’t say that I’ve had great experiences finding an assistant through some sort of online site. But that being said, I’m sure you could just watch out.

Okay. So great question, Mindy. Thank you for asking about virtual assistants or sometimes you’ll hear them referred to as VA’s. So if you ever heard somebody say my VA, that’s what they’re talking about, their virtual assistant.

Okay, so I have a question from Lisa, and by the way, if you guys have any other questions that you want me to get to today, go ahead and make sure you put them in the comments. I’ll have time to get to some of those. And a little while. Lisa asked. Oh, she said, I am specifically looking at what to use to make a Facebook live with more than one participant. I’d also like to be able to save that video post in multiple groups. Also looking for ways to schedule and promote. In the past I’ve done this, but the Facebook event didn’t link right when the video started and I had people unable to find me.

So, let’s talk about that last part first. If any of you have ever tried setting up a Facebook live that you’re going to set it up in advance and then you’re going to invite people to it and they’re going to click on a link and they’re going to go straight to that video. It’s a little weird. I have tried to do this for sure. At least that and I’ve gone through the process like halfway and I go, oh, I don’t really know what’s going on here. Like maybe I should’ve asked my VA to set it up for me, but it just seemed a little bit too technical and complicated and I’ve never gone through with it the way that I’ve always held a Facebook live and invited people to. It is all broadcast into the group and I will just tell everyone to go to the group page, the main page for the group and look for the live streaming video.

I mean it might be the first thing that they see. It might be a few posts down depending on who’s leaving comments, but usually if you’re live streaming people will be losing comments and you will be near the top and that is the best way that I’ve ever found to get people to join me on a live video. I’ve done that on my page, my fan page, and I’ve done it in groups like this. So I have never really had too much of a problem. Occasionally someone will say, I can’t find it, but most people find it just fine if they just look. So it is, it is really weird how that happens. Now that being said, there are ways to properly schedule and do a Facebook live through Facebook, but I just don’t know what it is. Also, I’m not streaming directly through Facebook, like nine point nine times out of 10.

I’m doing what I said earlier. I’m going through Zoom and Zoom, the streaming to Facebook, which adds a whole other can of worms to it. Um, so that kind of brings me to the second part of your or the first part of your question, which was about doing a Facebook live with more than one participant. There are different ways to do it, but the way that I’ve always done it is by using Zoom. So if you have Zoom’s free package, you won’t be able to do it. If you have Zoom meetings, which I think is about $15 a month, you won’t be able to do it, but if you upgrade to having the webinar platform, I think it comes from that $60 a month. Then you have the option when you’re broadcasting stream directly to Facebook or to stream directly to YouTube and do both. You could do one or the other with Zoom as of this recording anyway.

And then you can have as many people as you want on the call or on the broadcast and it would all be visible into Facebook if that’s where you’re streaming. I’m like I mentioned earlier, Zooms going to record it for you. You know, you just hit record. It’s all going to happen right there. So, you would have that video that you could upload to other places later if you want to actually live, stream it to several different Facebook pages, groups, whatever at the same time you can, it just takes like another pair of hands that we do this with healthy view radio. First you would want to broadcast live onto a public page. If you broadcast into a closed group, you can’t share it anywhere else because the privacy settings will be just for that group. So you would always first broadcast it to a public page.

Then anybody can go to that video and hit the share button, right? Like through Facebook and share it wherever they want. So, with healthy be radio, that’s what we do. We broadcast or Healthy View Radio page and then we’ll share it from there onto our personal page, onto our individual fan pages and we have it streaming and like eight different places once. Little bit complicated but totally can be done. I hope I answered that question sufficiently. I know there’s a lot of technical bits and pieces here, but hey, that’s what it’s all about. Right? Alrighty. Let’s see, what other questions do we have here?

Oh, Lisa saying then you can put the recording wherever you want, right? Yeah.

So, once you’ve recorded yourself with Zoom, you can upload it anywhere you want to. You can always just upload it somewhere later. Terrific.

Alright, so priscilla had a question that I thought was a good one. She said that she’s a total newbie blogger and she’s spent the last week or two cooking, baking, preserving and taking photographs. Awesome. She said, I would love to add these to my website. Blog. I use WordPress. What plugins do you guys recommend for adding recipes?

So first of all, you don’t have to have a plugin or anything fancy in order to put your recipe onto your blog, right? So just so nobody gets scared off by this, even if you don’t have word for us, even if you have no idea what a plugin is, you can always type up a recipe and put it on any page of your website or blog. But bloggers sometimes like to use these plugins so that there are a few extra features. For example, making the recipe printer friendly. It’s a lot easier to hit a little print button that prints just the recipe than to try to print a whole blog post.

Um, another thing is that some of these plugins will calculate nutritional information or allow you to input the nutrition information and display that automatically. So it also just makes for a cleaner look. Sometimes the rest of you will just show up a little bit nicer on the layout of your, of your screen. So, Priscilla, since you’re using WordPress, I’ll share with you that I use a plugin called easy recipe. They have a free version I believe, but like years and years and years ago I upgraded and bought their paid version which wasn’t that expensive and I’ve been using it ever since. So it’s something that you just pay once and then you have it forever. I think it was a pretty good investment. So again, that’s easy recipe, good luck.

Um, let’s see a question here from Mindy. She said, how do you deal with spammers when you are public?

I know it happens. It’s so annoying. Well, if we’re talking about like a fan page on Facebook and you’re getting people trolling you, you know, you can delete comments, you can, I’ve usually, someone will leave the page if you ask them to and things could get a little bit testy, but I always try to be the professional and uh, and it, it stinks. It’s just goes hand in hand with being visible and being out there in public. You’re going to get people who don’t like what you do. But, and I figured out who first said this to me, that’s kind of how you know that you’ve made it. Like if you’re pissing somebody off enough that they’re going to sit down and take time to tell you about it and you’re just talking about making a recipe.

It’s not like you’re getting political or anything. You’ve made it. There’s enough, there’s enough people out there paying attention that someone hates you. That’s a good thing. So I try to think of it that way, but certainly on your own pages, you know, you can, you can block and you can delete and you know, you don’t have to take, you don’t have to take It, you know, it’s sort of like someone walking into your house and you know, making a mess or whatever insulting you, you can ask them to leave. That’s how I consider my quote unquote properties online. We have had situations where we’re doing something live like this. I mean, right now I’m inside of a closed group so it’s not totally public, but let’s say you’re broadcasting live to your fan page. It can be hard to police comments and kick people out and delete things while you’re broadcasting. So in that case, I either just let it go to the end and then I’ll go through and clean up the comments. Um, or if somebody else is helping you out, like they can be doing that as you go along. It doesn’t happen that often, but it definitely happens.

Okay. Rebecca had a question that I’m going to answer in sort of a sideways fashion. She says, does anyone have a template or samples of brochures or pamphlets that you can leave at your local shops?

So, Rebecca, I know you got some answers about this on Facebook, but I just wanted to let you know that. No, I don’t. I don’t do any sort of brochures or pamphlets and I want to let you know why this stuff costs money. You know, if you’re going to do. When I first started my business, I had a trifold brochure that was full color, both sides. I spent, I don’t know how much money on it, a couple hundred dollars and I put those little brochures everywhere. I was leaving them here. I was leaving him there. Do you think anyone ever picked one of those up and called me and said, oh, I got your brochure now.

So if you’re going to do anything like that, I would suggest keeping it small, like a business card, maybe a postcard sized card or a flyer, something like that. Don’t spend a lot of money on it and if they want more information about you, that’s what websites are for. So that’d be like in this day and age we do not need brochures because all you need is somebody’s URL and then they can go there and they can get all the information that they could possibly want. So it’s much more cost effective that way and I feel like half the stuff, more than half of the stuff just ends up in the garbage and it breaks my heart to be basically just putting litter around, waiting for somebody to pick it up and then go, oh, and throw it on the, on the street or in the trash. So that’s kind of my thoughts on that.

Don’s saying, how do you live stream on multiple social media channels like Facebook and Instagram at the same time or people using their phone and computer?

You know, Don, I’m not entirely sure. I know there’s a service and I’m going to butcher it right now. It might be called B live. Does anybody know? I think it’s called B live and that was one of the first tools that I saw available that would let you live stream and different places. I know there’s tools out there that’ll allow you to do it. I have never personally done that. I’ve only ever streamed live to Facebook and then taking the recording and put it elsewhere after the fact. So that may be what these folks are doing that they’re taking a recording and then they’re uploading. It’s other places right afterwards. Um, if not, they’re using some sort of tool lets them go in two places at once or as you’re suggesting you can use multiple devices.

So you could be speaking like I am right now into my laptop and streaming to one place. But if I had my phone say on to Instagram and had it over here, that to, would be recording me and hearing my voice. So I suppose any of these things are possible, but my goodness, I try to keep it simple if I can. Lisa’s saying that she tried B live and wasn’t thrilled. It wasn’t easy to use, you know, at least I tried it too when it first came out. I think it was just data and it confused me as well. It didn’t seem like it should be confusing, but I didn’t like it either, but again, it was in beta so it’s probably improved, but, uh, I agree with your sentiments. It wasn’t the best. Oh my goodness. It’s 3:30. Okay. You guys, we’re gonna. Wrap it up. Thank you so much for joining me today and nerding out and then all the techie weirdness that goes on behind the scenes. We’ll be back next week, so keep asking great questions and I’ll keep answering them. Do you guys then.